The Rolla tennis team traveled to Columbia for a matchup with Hickman on Wednesday, April 3. The Bulldogs suffered their first defeat of the season, falling 6-3.
Rolla had some strong singles play against Hickman, winning three of the six matches. Pranal Madria won at number one, taking down Ben Rosenblad 8-5. Joel Schott earned a 8-5 at number three, beating Lucas Mcgurty. Owen Akins also pulled out a 9-7 win against Tom Wexler at number four. Rolla also had two other close matches in singles, as Josiah Homan fell to Dan Fratila 8-6 and Ethan Wang lost to Eric Kvam 8-5. Micah Martin also fell at number two 8-1.
The Bulldogs had some strong matches in doubles, but couldn't quite get a win. The closest match came at number two, where Madria and Jacob Lenox fell 8-6. Martin and Schott lost at number one 8-4 and the duo of Akins and Homan fell 8-1.
The JV played five doubles matches with Cody Neely and Taft Clayton earning Rolla's lone win.
"I am really pleased with the teams progress and how hard the boys are working and competing. We lost this match 0-9 last year and lost more to graduation than Hickman did too, so this match really shows our growth," said head coach Joe Schisler. "We lost 3-6, but had three other winnable matches. Two were 6-8 and one was 5-8. I also changed our doubles line-up a little trying to get everyone some more experience while experimenting with our line-up.
"That is one of the benefits of having a strong non-conference and non-district team in your schedule. It allows you to try some things against a quality opponent without so much risk in seeding criteria," continued Schisler. "We are pretty deep with strong players, so it is sometimes hard to figure out which pairings work and which don’t. We are getting close and continue to improve and have fun. The season gets busy from here out, so it is good to have some things figured out and have a positive vibe for the team."
The Bulldogs return to action next week with trips to Salem and Lebanon on Monday and Tuesday, April 8-9.